While indie offering Vambrace: Cold Soul has a lot of stuff working for it, this title can be frustrating for those who aren’t big fans of roguelike games.
I was provided a free review copy of Vambrace: Cold Soul on PC/Steam. The opinions are my own.
Where do I begin with Vambrace: Cold Soul (VCS)? The art is impressive as this game takes you to the frozen wasteland of Icenaire and into the underground city of Dalearch. The soundtrack does a good job of amping the tense atmosphere as you make your way through the dangerous dungeons.
There are numerous unique character designs as you meet a cast of supernatural creatures including fox-people (kitsunes, I guess. I’m not entirely sure). The lore is rich. You can tell Devespresso Games poured their heart and soul into this title. However, the overall tone and game mechanics prevented me from really enjoying VCS.
The main character is named Evelia Lyric. She is an adventuress who wants to solve a mystery her father left behind. Lyric gave me Lara Croft vibes during her introduction, but the developers managed to keep her different from the iconic Tomb Raider. Lyric has a vambrace that is able to break magical barriers.
The beginning of the game has so much exposition that I ignored a whole lot of it. I could appreciate all the work that went into building the world of Vambrace, but I just couldn’t bring myself to read every sentence.
I wouldn’t be surprised if people are able to play through the entire game without remembering much about what the overall story was supposed to be. Basically, the King of Shades is bad, and you need to end his reign (if I’m not wrong).
As for the gameplay, it’s sure to remind some of Darkest Dungeon. You walk with a party. Attacks can be short-ranged, mid-ranged, or long-ranged. The characters should be lined up depending on their attacking capabilities. Characters can also perform a Flourish or Special move. Frankly, trying to figure out the game mechanics might be frustrating for some. They were for me.
Also, there are hidden traps you need to be aware of. If your teammate dies, they remain dead. If Lyric dies in battle, you wake up in a med clinic and begin again. Not only that, there is a terror level which, when full, makes every room have an enemy. There’s just too much going on, in my opinion.
You can kind of feel my frustration in the gameplay video:
I’m not saying VCS isn’t a good game. It has a lot of content and offers hours of gameplay. It’s just not a game for someone like me.
I’m not sure what rating I should give VCS. Not enjoying it had more to do with my gaming preferences rather than this indie title itself. I have enjoyed playing roguelike games before, but this one felt a bit too different.
I guess a 7/10 would be fair.
Anyway, having said that, if you’re a fan of roguelike fantasy-adventure titles, you should consider checking out Vambrace: Cold Soul. If you like what it offers, you’re going to be stuck playing it for hours.
Feel free to share your thoughts with us.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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